MANU/SC/8401/2008

True Court CopyTM EnglishUJ OLR

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Civil Appeal No. 7251 of 2008 (Arising out of SLP (Civil) No. 4740 of 2008)

Decided On: 12.12.2008

Appellants: Vidyabai and Ors.
Vs.
Respondent: Padmalatha and Ors.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
S.B. Sinha and Cyriac Joseph

JUDGMENT

S.B. Sinha, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. Whether pleadings can be directed to be amended after the hearing of a case begins is the question involved in this appeal which arises out of a judgment and order dated 24.10.2007 passed by the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore in Writ Petition No. 14013 of 2007.

3. On or about 16.12.2003, the plaintiffs - appellants filed a suit for specific performance of an agreement of sale. According to the plaintiffs, one Prashant Sooji (since deceased) executed an agreement of sale on 15.01.2001 in respect of the suit property for a sum of Rs. 21 lakhs. Defendants - Respondents are the predecessors in interest of the said Prashant Sooji.

A written statement was filed on 17.04.2004. An application for amendment of the written statement was filed on 8.11.2006. In between the period 17.04.2004 and 8.11.2006, however, indisputably issues were framed and parties filed their respective affidavits by way of evidence. Dates had been fixed for cross-examination of the said witnesses.

On or about 8.11.2006, an application had been filed under Order VI Rule 17 of the Code of civil Procedure (for short "the Code"), which was marked as IA 9 of 2006, seeking amendment to the written statement. On the same day, another application, which was marked as IA 10 of 2006, had also been filed purported to be under Order VIII Rule 1A of the Code for production of additional documents.

By reason of an order dated 18.07.2007, the learned Principal civil Judge (Sr. Dn.) Hubli dismissed the said applications holding that an entirely new case is sought to be made out. The contention that they had no knowledge of the facts stated therein and the respondents could not gather the materials and information necessary for drafting proper written statement earlier was rejected, stating:

...However, this contention cannot be accepted. Because according to proposed amendment sought by defendants at para 3(a) will is dated 18.3.94. therefore, naturally same would have been in the knowledge of defendants right from the date and moreover when they say that mother-in-law of defendant No. 1 is also necessary party and she is also got right and interest in the suit property and that she is alive, then through her defendants would have known about will right from beginning and hence it cannot be said that defendant No. 1 required time to gather information regarding will and further as details of will would have been within the knowledge of defendants and/ or could have been given by mother-in-law of defendant No. 1 i.e. Subhadrabai, then it was not necessary for defendant No. 1 to have any social activities or have knowledge of business to know about the will and hence proposed amendment regarding will cannot said to be not within the knowledge of defendants at the time of filing of written statement. Further regarding husband of defendant No. 1 being addicted to bad vices like womanizing, drinking etc again this would have been within the personal knowledge of defendant No. 1 as she is wife of deceased Prashant against whom whose allegations are made and this would have been in here knowledge right from the beginning and to have said knowledge again s........